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I love making home-made pasta. It seems like a lot of work, but my sister actually worked out that when making pasta for just herself, it was faster to make her own than to wait for store-bought dried pasta to cook. It cooks in no time if you're eating it fresh, dries well to save for later or you can cook it to just under done and reheat in the sauce of your choice later, thus melding the pasta and sauce flavours perfectly. In the last year or so I have gotten into sometimes replacing the egg in pasta with vegetable purée. Beets are one potential replacement. I love making pasta with beets! The colour is fantastic and the taste comes through wonderfully, earthy and sweet. The beet pasta paired perfectly with the broccoli sauce, both in terms of colour and flavour, and the garlic shrimp made it all pop.
For the pasta:
1 beet, steamed until soft then puréed
3-4 c flour
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
For the broccoli sauce:
1 head of broccoli, floretted
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
15 shrimp (for 3 people)
3 chillis, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1) Put 3 c of flour in a bowl and create a well in the centre. Put the beet purée in the well and gradually mix the flour into the beet to create a soft, elastic (pink) dough. Knead in crushed thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
2)Dump it out onto a clean, floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Make sure it isn't too sticky as otherwise it will gum up the pasta maker, or it will get sticky when cooked. If it seems to sticky, knead extra flour into it. (If you don't like all the kneading make sure the dough is floured on the outside and pass it through the first setting of the pasta maker a few times. It will work the dough for you.)
3) Once the dough is ready, cut off a piece the size of half a fist and pass it through successively higher settings on the pasta maker. Different machines have different settings, but just to give you an idea, I stopped at setting 5 for this one - thick enough to have some bite, thin enough to be delicate and not clumpy.
4) Once you have it to the desired thickness, pass your sheet of dough through the fettuccine cutter and the hang to dry on a pasta tree, rack or the back of a chair. Just make sure the surface is clean and that the pasta won't stick.
At this point you have the option to dry the pasta completely and store it, or to cook it right away and have fresh pasta.
5) To cook the fresh pasta, bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Put pasta into the water a couple of portions at a time. Cook for a couple of minutes and drain the pasta. Be careful! Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried, so it won't take long. An extra 30s and you will be eating mush.
6) For the broccoli sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan. Sauté the onions and garlic until translucent then add the broccoli, oyster sauce and rice wine vinegar. Cook until the broccoli is tender but still dark, then blitz until smooth.
7) For the shrimp, heat oil in a frying pan. sauté the chilis and the garlic. Give them about 2 minutes then add the shrimp. Gook for 3-4 minutes until the flesh is white and tender, add the sesame seeds, and serve over the top of the beet pasta and the broccoli sauce.
This came out really well! The only thing I would tweak for next time would be to reduce the chilli in the shrimp a little to let the other flavours shine through a little better. Otherwise, beautiful!